Thursday, August 04, 2016

Why Doesn't "If You've Got Nothing to Hide, You've Got Nothing to Fear" Apply to Cops?

Police -- and not just individual officers, but entire departments and apparently most of them -- don't seem to like it very much when people know who they are or what they're doing.

For decades, protesters have reported that when the riot police swoop in, they've all covered their badge numbers (in addition to their faces) so that there's no way to know which one of them did what to whom.

Nearly every time a police officer shoots someone, the department declines to name that officer unless there's severe pressure to do so.

Here's the latest, and it's pretty over the top:

Baltimore County police shot and killed Korryn Gaines, a 23-year-old black woman, after an hours-long standoff on Monday -- during which Facebook and Instagram, at police request, temporarily shut down Gaines' accounts. ... Police Chief Jim Johnson says Gaines was posting video of the standoff to social media as it was unfolding, which prompted police to request the deactivation of her accounts. ... Johnson says that as negotiations were happening, police asked social media sites to deactivate Gaines'[s] accounts to "preserve the integrity of the negotiation process" as well as the safety of officers and Gaines'[s] child.

Think about that for a minute. Here's Johnson's premise in plain English:

"She was showing people what we were doing, and we can't have that -- witnesses make it harder for us to spin our stories the way we want them spun."

Is it possible that Korryn Gaines was a bad, violent person who was shot by police while threatening them with death or grievous bodily harm? Sure, I suppose it's possible. But when someone goes out of his way to make damn sure you can't know what he's up to, then someone else ends up dead at his hands inside the time and space bubble of secrecy he just intentionally created, the default reasonable presumption is that malice aforethought was involved on his part.

If a mere mundane pulled the kind of stunt the police pulled in this instance, with the same outcome, it's unlikely that any jury or judge in the country would buy his story or show any inclination whatsoever toward mercy.

That should be the outcome in this incident as well, but we all know it won't be.  Unless there's a massive public outcry, the cops involved in the killing of Korryn Gaines will be put on paid vacation ("administrative leave") for a couple of weeks, then the department will issue a press release announcing "we investigated ourselves and decided we did nothing wrong, k thx bai."

For obvious reasons, I hope you never end up in a standoff with police and need to show the public what's going on. But just in case that does happen, don't rely on Facebook or Instagram to have your back. Download Cell 411 for your smart phone. They won't keep you from streaming video of whatever's going on around you, even if the "We're SPECIAL -- We've got BADGES" club asks them to.

The last video Korryn Gaines was able to get out to Instagram before she was killed:

A video posted by RoyalKay💋 (@shesyourmajesty) on

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